Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Travel Blog› entry 27 of 38 › view all entries
Eilean Donan Castle is dramatically situated on a small isle at the meeting point of three sea lochs - Loch Long, Loch Duich and Loch Alsh. The original castle was built in 1220 for Alexander II as a defence against the Vikings. By the late 13th century it had become a stronghold of the Mackenzies of Kintail (later the Earls of Seaforth). In 1511, the MacRaes, as protectors of the MacKenzies, became the hereditary Constables of the Castle.
In 1719, the castle was garrisoned by Spanish troops fighting for the Jacobite cause on behalf of the 5th Earl of Seaforth when three British frigates sailed into the loch and pounded the castle to rubble with canon-fire. It remained a ruin for the next two centuries until 1912 when Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap decided to restore his ancestral home.
- By the A87 on the north shore of Loch Duich near Dornie
- Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, by Kyle of Lochalsh IV40 8DX
- Maintained by the Conchra Charitable Trust
- Open to the public
- Contact: 01599 555202
- For further information visit www.eileandonancastle.com
A bit more information:
Above the entrance to the castle there is a Gaelic inscription which translates as: As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside. Inside the courtyard is the famous Murchison Stone with an inscription about John Murchison of Auchtertyre who was killed in the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715.
Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 1220 and owned by the MacKenzies of Kintail. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan Fraser. They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie chiefs. Although there was a number of disputes, the MacKenzies held Eilean Donan right up until until the 16th century. The MacRaes first became Constables of the Castle in 1511 with a lot of control over the surrounding area. A feud between the MacKenzies and the McLeods of Dunvegan, over the disputed claims of Donald Gorm MacDonald to the title of Lord of the Isles, came to a head when he attacked the Castle with 50 galleys. He was shot and killed by Duncan MacRae with a single arrow. The Castle was garrisoned by Government troops but later retaken by the Jacobites before the Battle of Sheriffmuir.